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HOT TOPIC The road to wealth is simple: Drive a crappy car

DiamondDog

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Dec 3, 2016
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All my friends think I'm crazy for driving an old beater. I could easily finance a +20k (mind you, I'm in Bolivia and that's a lot of money) but I'm not falling for that trap.

I'd much rather be rich than look rich. 20k dollars is more than enough to get a business on its feet here.
 

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OlivierMo

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This is always a good topic for me because I am a car guy and I love cars but one thing I love more is no car payment. Everyone I know wants the newest car around me and keeps asking me when I will buy a new car. I always tell them, there is nothing wrong with my car, it is reliable and I only drive 15 miles a day. I've had it for 14 years now, paid $5k cash for it, it is still worth $5k (to a car enthusiast) with 326k miles on it.

My favorite line from people that have the new cars is "i have a new car and I never put money it." That is true but your car also cost you $40k (more if you're paying interest), you will sell it in few years for maybe $20k, so technically your maintenance free car cost you about $20k during that time minus oil changes are required maintenance that every car needs".

I will drive my car as long as I can but there will be a time where I won't be able to fit 3 kids with car seats so I will need a newer car. One thing with me is I buy cars for a very long time because I get attached to them and I know how to work on small things. I get the most use out of cars unlike the majority of the population.
Curious to know what make/model it is so I can find a similar deal next time I need a car.
 

RemoteFox

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Jun 20, 2019
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I agree.

I kept my first vehicle for over seven years. Finally got rid of it last year, I didn't want to fix it anymore and I needed something more reliable. Making 800 mile round trips with a worn out old school land rover was not cutting it.

I was able to walk in to a dealer with a cashier's check, and walk out with a lease return Audi for half price off new.

I also bought(cash) a Porsche several years ago. It wasn't an expensive one, but it also wasn't a rebadged Volkswagen with a 4 cylinder. What it did grant me was access to the Porsche community where I was able to meet quite a few interesting people that added value to my life. The car since has gone up in value, but no where near enough to cover up keep.
 

rynor

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Wish I had saw this thread before last February when I financed a new-ish car. Felt great about it for a few months, then I realized I was trapped to a loan payment. Lesson learned.
 

Suzanne Bazemore

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Do you or anyone have an opinion on buying a newer car specifically for better crash ratings(better engineered crumple zones and what not) and better safety tech(automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist)?
Looking at $10-15k for an older vehicle vs $20-25k for a newer one with the better safety. I'm not sure if the difference is that pronounced, but it seems like according to NHTSA death rate statistics that newer vehicles are indeed notably safer?
To me, I don't want the new safety features that involve the car driving itself. I can do things myself that prevent the need for such vehicular interventions, such as not driving when I'm tired and not texting and driving.

Well, I'm still driving my $1300 2001 mini van for work even though my mechanic told me to stop driving it. I've decided to drive it until something happens where I can't drive it any longer or it needs new tires.
Years ago, my mechanic told me that I needed to get a new car and get rid of my 2005 Toyota Sienna. Nope.
 

Tourmaline

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@Suzanne Bazemore I do not believe anyone should rely on the car driving itself. I've been in an accident when someone was on the road at night and could not be seen due to approaching the bottom of a downhill and the headlights pointing down, and they were a little further along the road but where the road was now going uphill. Had the car had emergency braking, it would have potentially been able to detect an imminent collision that could not have been seen with human eyes.
 

MattR82

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When I first got my license in 2000, a 15 year old car was from 1985 lol. They looked ancient but I did find a "cool" one lol.
I just came back home after living overseas for a few years and a 15 year old car is only 2004 and honestly, looks fine, pretty modern looking. Bought a Mazda off a family member for 2k which is in perfect condition. I don't need to drive much, so meh.

I saw a friend recently buy a brand new car. No way he can afford it, so he looks like a prisoner every time I see him driving it.
 

DavidTT

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From my POV...

If it's a money pit, dump it. Depends on aggregate costs and your financial situation, how often you use it, what it's used for.

If it's reliable and costs little to maintain and impacts little on your budget, I may keep it.

I own an old Toyota truck that runs like a stallion. I keep it because it's reliable and cost very little to keep. It's worth more to me owned than to sell it. But I'm also in a different financial situation.

But to be honest, if I was just starting and in saving/growth mode, I'd sell. Especially if I was getting hit with a parking cost every month. JMO.
Thanks a lot for your honest opinion. I really appreciate it. You're absolutely right. I guess you're just confirming what I already think deep down inside. The only reason why I hate to admit it is because I do have some emotional attachment to it. I have to let it go because after all, it's just a damn car.
 

socaldude

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It's a huge mistake when you are first starting out to finance a new car.

You can easily save up $2k or $3k and buy a used 4 cylinder asian car that is reliable and economical.

It's a total misconception to think you need a brand new car to have a safe and reliable vehicle.

Most vehicles are well made enough to be safe and last a long time if you take care of them.
 

Sanj Modha

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That complete freedom sounds really good lol. I am constantly thinking about whether or not I should sell my 300zx. I've had it for close to 12 years so I don't know if I'll regret selling it. I know most guys who sold them always tell me not to do it because they end up regretting it lol.
I honestly thought car ownership was the pinnacle of success until I had to deal with maintenance, tires, fuel, tax etc.

The future is ride hail and driverless cars and I'm ready to embrace that now.

I use Grab and GoJek when I need a car which has slashed my transport costs. For all other times, I use metro and bus which in Singapore is incredibly cheap.
 

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AgainstAllOdds

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A tip for people with crappy cars:

Get AAA. It's like $100 a year. You get 4 tows or whatever a year. A lot of your stress with owning a crappy car goes away.

We own some crappy vehicles in my business. They break down. They get towed to the mechanic. Fixed up. Ready to go. Comes out a lot cheaper for us than owning the newest vehicles.
 

Eric Flathers

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Very rarely do I agree with Marketwatch's personal finance tips but I agree with this one.


Early in my entrepreneurial journey, my lust for fast cars really set me back in many ways.

Each time I was burdened with payments which forced me to work crappy jobs. All for an above average car that was merely a mask to an identity that I haven't yet achieved.

The nice car gave me a temporary ego boost (for about 1 month) and swiped away TIME and MONEY.

Nothing wrong with a nice car, even an exotic one.

But for the love of God, wait until you can afford to buy one, pay cash (or use cheap money) and not bat an eye about it.
For the longest time, I bought used cars, usually cash or with a low car payment. I would drive them into the ground until it started to cost more to repair them then it would go buy a newer car.

Then on a trip driving across the country, my car broke down and the clutch went. Lucky I had the best AAA membership and had it towed back to my sisters work parking lot.

I flew back to LA and decided I was done with dealing with car repairs and leased a 2016 Subaru Forester and while I liked the car I realized it was a mistake. Seeing most of my jobs were out on location I ended up paying more money to store the car safely while gone.

So now I was paying a car lease, insurance (which is super high because it's a lease) and storage fees over $150 a month.

I came to my senses and sold the car to CarMax and paid them $1,000 to get out of the lease and haven't owned a car since. Now not having a car won't work for most people but for me who hasn't driven in over 5 months, it makes sense.

If you are buying a new expensive car because you think it makes you look more successful when going to meetings (which can be a thing), I'd suggest buying a used economy car and renting a nicer car for highly important meetings.

Like if I have a drive on at a major studio to pitch a show, renting a BMW for one day on Turo for $75 or a $100 bucks is worth it if I know they will see me driving up.
 

Eric Flathers

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I actually own a 300zx which I bought back in October of 2007. Ya it's just a toy and was nothing but a money pit for a few early years but its the only car I have and at this point, it actually retains its value. I don't really need a car since I work downtown and can take public transit. It's paid off a long time ago and doesn't cost me anything to own right now besides basic vehicle registration and insurance. I did think about selling it because I don't NEED it and is one of those material possessions that act like ballast since it needs greater maintenance, indoor parking etc. However, I also would like to think that the reason why I am keeping it also stops me from eyeing other cars since its already pretty quick and a nice drive. If I would have sold it, I would probably be more tempted to look at other nice/fast cars. By keeping it, it gives me the fast/nice car fix.

View attachment 25252

If I would sell it, I don't think I would own a car because I really don't need one. Living downtown and having services such as UBER, Lyft or Car-to-go, a car really isn't a necessity anymore.
David,
I'd look into if the car will end up being a classic. Some of these cars end up with decent auction value from collectors if it's the right model. If they don't make the car anymore and you have a place to store it for free it might be worth keeping and taking the insurance off it. I agree I use Grab and Go-Jek while I'm in SE Asia or rent a scooter for $4 a day.
 

MattR82

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I honestly thought car ownership was the pinnacle of success until I had to deal with maintenance, tires, fuel, tax etc.

The future is ride hail and driverless cars and I'm ready to embrace that now.

I use Grab and GoJek when I need a car which has slashed my transport costs. For all other times, I use metro and bus which in Singapore is incredibly cheap.
Public transport in Singapore is really clean too. Not to mention the insane registration costs I heard of over there. Sheesh..
 

Sanj Modha

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Public transport in Singapore is really clean too. Not to mention the insane registration costs I heard of over there. Sheesh..
The COE is expensive but its all reinvested into public transport which is superb here.

My condo is next to a bus stop and the nearest metro station is 10 minutes away. Love it.
 

andrewbaltimore

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My approach has been to buy used cars, undervalued units in good condition expecting not to loose a lot when selling them and to always pay them cash
This way you minimize the looses
 
Last edited:

amp0193

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Since nobody in the thread has mentioned it yet:

Just because you have a kid or two, doesn't mean you HAVE to have a huge SUV or Minivan. Yet it seems to be the pinnacle dream of my slowlane, middle-class, soccer-mom lifestyle, friends to own a $30,000 - $40,000 vehicle, and the associated car payment.

You have 3-4 people in your family now, but why do you need 7 seats... 3 of which remain empty 99% of the time?

Instead, purchase the space you actually NEED on a day to day basis. We have two kids, and own a 2006 Nissan Versa Hatchback, with no car payment. It is filled to 80-85% capacity every time we drive it. The two times a year where we need more space than the car has (Christmas, and family vacation)... we just put a bunch of shit on the hitch storage rack that I added for $150. If somehow THAT wasn't enough, I'd get a roof rack too.
 

Vy Vy Anne

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Jun 26, 2019
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Yu are so correct..... in this case, most times, experience is the best teacher....
Totally agree but I suspect the advice will largely be ignored by the masses as I think most people have to go through it personally and get it out of their system before the reality really hits home. When 6 months down the road they see that huge chunk of cash disappearing out of their account each month and feel the squeeze on their finances.
 

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csalvato

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Since nobody in the thread has mentioned it yet:

Just because you have a kid or two, doesn't mean you HAVE to have a huge SUV or Minivan. Yet it seems to be the pinnacle dream of my slowlane, middle-class, soccer-mom lifestyle, friends to own a $30,000 - $40,000 vehicle, and the associated car payment.

You have 3-4 people in your family now, but why do you need 7 seats... 3 of which remain empty 99% of the time?

Instead, purchase the space you actually NEED on a day to day basis. We have two kids, and own a 2006 Nissan Versa Hatchback, with no car payment. It is filled to 80-85% capacity every time we drive it. The two times a year where we need more space than the car has (Christmas, and family vacation)... we just put a bunch of shit on the hitch storage rack that I added for $150. If somehow THAT wasn't enough, I'd get a roof rack too.
Minivan or SUV is useful when you also have a dog.

I don't think anyone ever dreams about owning a minivan.
 

amp0193

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Minivan or SUV is useful when you also have a dog.

I don't think anyone ever dreams about owning a minivan.
I've got an 80 pound dog. He fits just fine on the floor under the kids' legs, or in the trunk-space of the hatchback.

To spend an additional $10,000-15,000 on a vehicle that your pet will be a little more comfortable in, but only occasionally ride in, is a silly financial decision.

Unless you have the money to blow... in which case, go for it.
 

Tourmaline

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Minivans are way underrated. They haul a$$. An Odyssey drives better than almost any Toyota or Nissan.

You can get cheap minivans too @amp0193. Not Versa cheap, but the Versa has a pretty high death rate and is not something I'd ever consider putting my family in.
 

csalvato

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I've got an 80 pound dog. He fits just fine on the floor under the kids' legs, or in the trunk-space of the hatchback.

To spend an additional $10,000-15,000 on a vehicle that your pet will be a little more comfortable in, but only occasionally ride in, is a silly financial decision.

Unless you have the money to blow... in which case, go for it.
:clench: Putting a 100 lb dog on the floor between my kids legs for a 2 hour drive to the mountains sounds like animal torture. For a 15 minute ride to the park, maybe.

Besides, the difference between a 2006 Nissan Versa and a 2006 Toyota Sienna is not 10-15k. It's like 3k, maybe. A 2015 versa is like $10k, and a 2015 Sienna is like $15k. We're not talking a massive difference.
 

AllenCrawley

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2004 Toyota Sequoia with 185,000 miles. Motor and trans are strong but the rest of the vehicle is under constant repairs. Just paid $980 for front struts and $850 for a new radiator. We've probably paid over $6000 for repairs over the last couple of years alone and there are more repairs that need to be done like the rear suspension. Wife is requesting a newer vehicle, lol.
 

NaPal

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Just bought a 2007 Honda Civic with 250k miles for $1500. Engine and tranny are smooth. And my salary is 75x that cost of my car. :smile:
 

AgainstAllOdds

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A tip for long road trips:

Get a car from Enterprise Rent-a-Car.

The depreciation and maintenance on the car is likely higher than what it'd cost to take your own car. Most of the car companies calculate based on local trips (you fly into a city and need a vehicle). They don't calculate for long road trips as much, where you would benefit.

Next, get an EZ Pass transponder for $7 a day for unlimited tolls. If you're running $30 in tolls a day, you're coming out ahead.

I've done two business road trips so far. It was so much better to pay the car company than to put that mileage/depreciation on any vehicle.
 

AllenCrawley

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A tip for long road trips:

Get a car from Enterprise Rent-a-Car.

The depreciation and maintenance on the car is likely higher than what it'd cost to take your own car. Most of the car companies calculate based on local trips (you fly into a city and need a vehicle). They don't calculate for long road trips as much, where you would benefit.

Next, get an EZ Pass transponder for $7 a day for unlimited tolls. If you're running $30 in tolls a day, you're coming out ahead.

I've done two business road trips so far. It was so much better to pay the car company than to put that mileage/depreciation on any vehicle.
We use Enterprise often. We usually get some perks like free upgrades and discounted rates. We recently did a road trip from Phoenix to Indianapolis. Rented a really nice car for 10 days and only paid $460.
 

AgainstAllOdds

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We use Enterprise often. We usually get some perks like free upgrades and discounted rates. We recently did a road trip from Phoenix to Indianapolis. Rented a really nice car for 10 days and only paid $460.
Make sure to get the EZ pass. I was really confused when they said it's unlimited for $7.
 

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